National Union of Journalists issues protest over pressure on the press
On 16 February 2011 Ukraine’s National Union of Journalists passed a declaration alleging pressure from the authorities on the media and journalists. The statement points out the assertions from the authorities regarding freedom of speech, non-interference in the work of the media and free access to information are at odds with the actual situation. It adds that the number of approaches from media outlets and journalists regarding pressure has increased over recent times.
One of the first steps which Edward Matviychuk took in 2010 after being appointed Head of the Odessa Regional State Administration was to withdraw the Administration from being one of the founders of the single regional Ukrainian-language newspapers “Chornomorski Novyn” [Black Sea Newss], this meaning the removal of financial support. The Union states that the argument that this was to save money does not withstand scrutiny since other publications received increased spending.
As an example of how the government’s statements do not match their actions, the Union mentions the situation with the eviction of two editorial offices: the journal “Tribune” and the annual publication “Science and Life”.
Other examples are cited of interference by the heads of regional councils in the work of the media in the Khmelnytsky, Cherkasy and Zaporizhya regions.
The Secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Viktor Nabrusk was dismissed with infringements of labour legislation after over 10 years of work.
“We believe that resolution of staffing issues in editorial teams should be a matter for the teams themselves and that the heads of media outlets should be elected by an open, not secret, vote of the staff of those outlets. “